A proteomic approach to differential protein expression in omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue in obesity studies


Obesity is recognized as one of the most important public health problems facing the world today. Prevalence is growing exponentially worldwide, both in developed and developing countries. An increased intake of energy-dense foods, especially when combined with reduced physical activity, surely contributes to this high prevalence. Obesity is defined medically as a state of increased adipose tissue of such magnitude to produce adverse health consequences. Obese subjects have an increased risk of suffering insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, among others. Previously considered an inert depot, fat is now regarded as a key, highly active and versatile organ with many important physiological and pathological roles. Most of the adipose tissue functions are carried out via molecules secreted by fat cells, capable of acting locally and in many non-adipose tissues, such as muscle, liver and stomach tissues, as well as nervous, immune and vascular systems. In humans, the adipose tissue is mainly shown in two compartments, the subcutaneous and the visceral fat depots. Numerous methods have been developed to study the adipose tissue, among them, Proteomics. Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins in disease-related processes, at the whole cell or tissue level, and even in subcellular structures and in biological fluids. We have used this approach in our laboratory and several comparative proteomic studies have been performed (based on 2D-DIGE and Mass Spectrometry), currently considered pioneers in the field of obesity. In a first study the subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue proteomes were compared highlighting the elevated metabolic activity and the higher inflammatory profile of the omental versus the subcutaneous fat; in a second study the omental adipose tissue from obese and non-obese subjects was compared underlining a clear distinctive proteomic pattern between the two group of individuals which underscore a reduced metabolic activity, together with morphological and structural cell changes in the obese fat. A few proteins have been deeply studied using different strategies to uncover their implication in obesity

Peral Fuentes, María Belén
Investigador Científico